UTAH’S FIRST DESERT BIGHORN NURSERY HERD DOING WELL
Bozeman, Montana. July 20, 2022. Thanks to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) efforts, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the Utah Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation, and the D. Gary and Mary Young Family, Utah has its first nursery herd for desert bighorn sheep.
Thirty-one desert bighorn sheep were captured in late June in Nevada’s Muddy Mountain Wilderness and safely relocated to the 1,800-acre Skyrider Wilderness Ranch near Tabiona in Duchesne County, Utah. The ranch is owned and managed by the Young Family of Young Living Essential Oils.
“A nursey herd approach is a vital tool in the restoration and expansion of wild sheep populations,” said Gray N. Thornton, President and CEO of the Wild Sheep Foundation. “A cross-state translocation like this to a secure, private ranch holding-area takes a lot of cooperation and coordination. We applaud everyone who had a hand in making this a successful conservation action.”
Trapping and transplanting is the most successful and fastest way to expand wild sheep populations back to their historical ranges. A nursery herd has been used successfully for bighorn sheep on Utah’s Antelope Island, Montana’s Wild Horse Island, and Texas and New Mexico for desert bighorns in the USA. Nursery herds have also been a key component of desert sheep restoration in Mexico, exemplified by WSF’s Mexico Initiative.
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